The Malta Independent 23 June 2021, Wednesday

US election, the demographic trends

Kevin Schembri Orland Friday, 16 October 2020, 21:35 Last update: about 9 months ago

Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden are currently in the middle of a heated Presidential election campaign.

Both political parties have their targeted supporters, but over the years the trends show changes have occurred in terms of who generally supports which party.

Bradley Jones, a Research Associate from the Pew Research Center, broke down supporter trends over the years, thereby painting a picture of what the main supporter base of both political parties is going into this election. He spoke as part of the Foreign Press Centers: Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.


The Pew Research Center is a leading, non-partisan "fact tank" that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research.

"For all of the societal and demographic changes that the U.S. has undergone, the fundamental partisan balance in the country hasn't changed too much. The one trend that we do see in identification is the increasing share of the public who call themselves Independents, who decline to identify with either party," he explained.

In 1994, only 30% of such registered voters identified themselves so, and in 2018/2019, this number stood at 34%. However, he went on to explain, "when we follow up with those voters and we ask them if they lean towards one of the major parties, we find that people who tell us that they are closer to one of the major parties act very much like those who say they identify with the parties." When combining the two, that is those who outright identify with a party, and those who lean towards one or the other, the statistics show that 44% either identify with or lean towards Republican and 49% identify with or lean towards Democrats, he said.

The majority of urban voters 62% lean towards or identify with the Democratic Party (62%), a trend that has been rising since 1994. Meanwhile, the majority of rural voters identify or lean towards the Republican Party (58%), a trend that has also been rising since 1994. Suburban voters, meanwhile, are more closely spread (47% Republican, 46% Democrat).

Delving further into the demographics, "Women are more likely than men to identify or lean towards the Democratic Party, whereas men show a slight preference for the Republican Party," Jones explained. In 2018/2019, 42% of men identified with or leaned towards the Democratic Party, a slight increase in percentage terms since 1994, where this number stood at 39%. Meanwhile 50% leaned towards or identified with the Republican Party.

In terms of women, 56% in 2018/2019 identified or leaned towards the Democratic Party, rising from the 49% in 1994. The Republican Party has witnessed a downward trend among women standing at 38% in 2018/2019.

Different racial groups in the USA have different trends in terms of party support. 53% of white voters in 2018/2019 lean or identify with the Republican party, 42% with the Democratic Party. The African American vote on the other hand, remains firmly behind the Democratic Party (83%).


The Hispanic vote also seems to favour the Democratic Party 63% compared to the Republican's 29%, with the trend since 1994 favouring the former.

In terms of educational background, The majority of registered voters with no college degree lean or identify with the Republicans (47% compared to the Democrats' 45% in 2018/2019).

When it comes to college graduates however, the Democrats look far stronger. In 1994 50% of such registered voters leaned towards or identified with the Republican Party, and 42% the Democratic Party. In 2018/2019 however, the statistics are quite different, 37% lean or identify as Republican and 57% Democrat.

 "We can see that it is college educated women who have shifted the most towards the Democratic Party."

"You can see that for those without a college degree, men have dipped down in their support and then increased in the last 10 years or so moving towards the Republican Party where women have been about a stable."

More recent trends

Jones said that the PEW Research Centre also provided some of their research and survey data from 2018 up to just a few months ago.

"The overwhelming share of people who identified with or leaned towards one of the parties in September 2018, continue to identify with that same party in July 2020."

"Overall, we have 88% of both party coalitions kind of sticking with their party from the beginning to the end. And then we have a much smaller share who have actually changed parties."

It is pertinent to note that the US electoral system does not necessarily mean that whoever wins the popular vote would win an election, as the candidate who gets 270 or more electoral college votes becomes President of the United State. In most States, a person who wins the majority of votes in that State wins all their Electoral College votes of that State.





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